VETERAN filmmaker, Chief Eddie Ugbomah, died yesterday, 48 hours before a scheduled surgery.
The respected filmmaker died in a Lagos hospital following a protracted illness. He was 78.
Although details of his ailment were not disclosed, Ugbomah had said it had to do with the nerves, his ears and brain.
His death was announced by Shaibu Hussein, a member of a committee set up to raise funds for his treatment.
“I have the permission of the Chair of the Chief Eddie Ugbomah Medical Fund Committee Alhaji Adedayo Thomas (DG, NFVCB) to break the news of the passage into eternity of the Veteran Filmmaker Chief Eddie Ugbomah, OON,” Hussein wrote on his Facebook wall yesterday.
“The veteran filmmaker died an hour ago at the hospital where he was scheduled to undergo a surgery on Monday. Sad…but we totally submit to the Almighty.”
Several persons in the Nollywood community have expressed their condolences.
Peace Anyiam-Osigwe condoled with Hussein and Paul Obazele, former president of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP).
“May the CHI bless all of you who came to his aid at this time and May his family and friends find the fortitude to bear the loss,” she wrote.
Keith Shiri, a programmer at the London Film Festival and collaborator of the Tarifa-Tangier African Film Festival (FCAT) also expressed his condolence.
“Very sad to hear the Chief’s passing,” he wrote.
“I was honoured to have been introduced to him by the late South African filmmaker Lionel Ngakane in Fespaco in the late 80’s. He was of a generation of filmmakers that paved a way for African Cinema. Let’s celebrate his life and May his work be preserved for future generations. Go well Chief.”
Filmmaker and promoter Mykel Parish Ajaere wrote: “Sad news. Lord lead him through a smooth journey home.”
In an interview with The Nation in November 2018, Ugbomah had appealed to Nigerians to come to his aid financially as he was ill and needed N50m to treat himself. He, however, said he was not begging but needed them to patronise his works.
Ugbomah had said he was wrongly misdiagnosed and treated for malaria and typhoid by doctors at five different hospitals before doctors at the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos diagnosed what was wrong with him.
“It was something to do with my ears and my brain,” he had said in the interview.
“We’re looking to raising N50m for my own intellectual property, not that I’m begging anybody cap in hand. I have something to make my money,” he had said.
“All I need is everybody to support by buying the book, by coming to launch the documentary, by going to cinema houses to watch the films because they’re classics – ‘Black President’ and Desert ‘Warrior’ and ‘Black Gold.’ They’re all made in celluloid. I’ve taken them to America. They just came back this week in HD and DVD. Then, the documentary has been shot, it’s going through the editing now. The book is already written and going through compilation to print.”
Ugbomah also said his autobiography, titled ‘Eddie by Eddie Ugbomah’ and a documentary on his birth and life, entitled ‘This Is My Life’, would also be unveiled in a festival scheduled to hold from April 20 to 25, 2019 to mark his retirement
Under the strain of finance, he had to depend on well-meaning Nigerians like the Executive Director, National Film and Video Censors Board, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, Chidia Maduekwe, Wale Adenuga and others for their voluntary financial gifts.
The Delta State indigene whose other works include ‘Rise and Fall of Oyenusi,’ ‘Oil Doom,’ ‘The Boy is Good,’ ‘Death of the Black President’ and ‘Apalara’ lamented that government had not come to his aid in his trying time.